By Christian Tiburtius

An exclusive interview with former 125cc world champion Andrea Dovizioso, who joined the factory Ducati MotoGP team in place of Valentino Rossi at the start of this season.

Dovizioso made his MotoGP debut in 2008, winning a race for the Repsol Honda team in 2009 - where he remained until spending last season at Tech 3 Yamaha, then moving to Ducati.

The Italian is eighth in the world championship - as the top Desmosedici rider - heading into Sunday's Aragon race, with a best result of fourth so far this year...
Just a couple of questions about your career, when you were at Repsol Honda, were you given equal equipment and opportunities?

Andrea Dovizioso:
Yeah, I think my bike was the same as theirs. For sure they were very strong competitors and Casey [Stoner] had an amazing [2011] season, but Honda worked hard for all their riders. I'm happy that Honda worked fairly for all their riders. Maybe if there was a new part and they didn't have enough for all the riders then I was usually third, but I don't really want to say anything about that here.

There was very little development that year anyway because the bike was working so well, so the bikes were very similar all season.
You were at Tech 3 last year and had scored six podiums, what motivated you to move to Ducati having seen how Valentino did?

Andrea Dovizioso:
The motivation was to try to develop the bike. When you develop a bike and do a really good job you can fight for a good result. That's the main reason I took that decision.

I mean we can't be happy about the results this year though, it's not the place Ducati want to be or where I want to be, so I can't really be happy about that but I hope there'll be big changes in the future.
So as things stand the bike isn't performing to expectations?

Andrea Dovizioso:
At the beginning I expected this situation and I expected us to improve it after a few races, unfortunately that didn't happen though.
What aspects of the Ducati are you mainly working on then?

Andrea Dovizioso:
Everything, because the Ducati is so complex we have to improve everything. Some parts are big, some small, if we want to fight with the fast riders though we have to improve everything.

Turning for sure is one of the main points but it's not only that.
Do you have any useful directions for development?

Andrea Dovizioso:
[Laughs] Yes and no, yes and no.

We have a lab bike where we can test things and find directions for future progress, but I don't want to speak about specific directions now.
Is Audi having any influence on how things are progressing?

Andrea Dovizioso:
Yes, a little bit and in the future I hope it will be more.
Does the bike need evolution or revolution?

Andrea Dovizioso:
No, I think we've improved the situation a little bit since the start of the season, but it hasn't made an impact on the speed and our competitors have made improvements as well so the gap has become bigger. That's because we haven't improved the speed whereas the competitors have.
Are you OK with how hard Nicky seems to be racing you at the moment?

Andrea Dovizioso:
It's always important for your team-mate to push you 100% so that you can push each other to put the bike on the limit.

The last pass he did at Indianapolis was a little excessive but I don't want to speak about that, it can happen. The point is that for him it was OK so if I want to do it I can do it.

There's a good and friendly relationship between him and me in the pits.
Does the very high performance of the Bridgestone tyres prevent close competition?

Andrea Dovizioso:
No, I don't think that's right. There are many reasons why this happens, all the electronics we use is another. The Bridgestones are the best tyre in the world and keep a good lap time from the beginning to the end, not every rider can keep that pace over a race distance though so it's not only the tyre.

The show for some people is riders battling though, sometimes over the limit. How our speed looks is subjective.
So for you the interesting thing in racing is the development and technically chasing the perfect lap?

Andrea Dovizioso:
MotoGP is like this because the manufacturers push so hard to improve the bike, the bikes become so strong and many riders in MotoGP are able to keep that strong consistent pace to the end of a race.

What riders would like is to have less electronic systems because the electronics are really excessive and you really can't ride in a normal way. We've got the electronics for safety but they aren't so good when you want to ride in a normal way to battle with other riders. Basically there is too much electronics for battling but they're good for safety.
It doesn't sound as if you like the current electronic level then?

Andrea Dovizioso:
No, nobody amongst the riders likes it. To have some electronics is fine but not like now. I think we've got them for safety and because manufacturers might want to put them in their street bike.
You seem to be a very modest and quiet rider, do you enjoy doing the publicity side of things?

Andrea Dovizioso:
It's not so easy for me for sure. Things have changed a lot, everybody wants pictures and autographs, it's not a relaxed world in the MotoGP paddock. It's not a side of racing which is natural too me.

What I want is to race the motorbike but now you have to do so many things, it's not like in the past. I want to spend time with fans and I like it, but it's not possible to spend so much time with them because we are so busy working on the bike.
Thanks for that Andrea.

Andrea Dovizioso:
No problems


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